Friday, August 01, 2003

Why judges matter:

In the news:
Judge Says I.B.M. Pension Shift Illegally Harmed Older Workers (excerpts)
Judge G. Patrick Murphy of Federal District Court in the Southern District of Illinois ruled that I.B.M. had discriminated against its older workers in several ways when it converted its pension plan because the changes would leave them with smaller benefits at retirement than younger workers would have when they eventually retired.

I.B.M. changed its plan twice. In 1995, it switched to a hybrid called a pension equity plan, and in 1999 it converted to what is called a cash-balance plan. That type combines some features of traditional pensions, which provide a defined benefit at retirement, with other features of 401(k) retirement plans. Both of I.B.M.'s changes took away some benefits from older workers and gave them less time than their younger colleagues to build up new ones.
Who appointed G. Patrick Murphy?
THE WHITE HOUSE - Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 31, 1997

3. G. Patrick Murphy, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Illinois

G. Patrick Murphy, 48, received both his college degree, in 1974, and his law degree, in 1978, from Southern Illinois University. Since 1994, Mr. Murphy has been a sole practitioner in Marion, Illinois. Prior to forming his own firm, Murphy was a partner with the firm of Winters, Brewster, Murphy, Crosby & Patchett from 1983 to 1993. He was an associate with the firm of Garrison & Garrison from 1982 to 1983, and an associate with the law firm of James W. Sander & Associates from 1978 to 1982.
This is important stuff, 'cause it affects many millions of "regular folks" in this country. Folks Bush proclaims to care about. Remember this ruling, who made it, and who appointed the judge, the next time Bush* selects an ultra- business-friendly person for the federal bench.

*- actually, the selection of judges is not really done by Bush but instead, by unknown people (Ted Olson?) over at Justice.


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